Q.  What will happen to the Henry's and Sun Harvest names?
A.For the time being, nothing. Until the transaction closes, which we hope will be early this spring, Henry’s/Sun Harvest and Sprouts will remain separate and distinct entities. After that, the likelihood is that later in 2011 or 2012, all Henry's and Sun Harvest stores will become Sprouts stores. However, we know that it is important that we keep strong ties to the name “Henry’s” and all the good will that has been built up over the years, so we will work hard to find ways to keep that alive.
Q.  If it is truly a merger, why do you think the name will change to Sprouts?
A.We have studied many mergers and know that the best way to gain synergy is to unite under one brand name. Around town, the stores have become known by their first name. The reason that Sprouts is likely the better name is that, on its own, it connotes food, freshness and produce and hence has more brand equity, especially as we expand to markets outside of San Diego.
Q.  Will all the stores remain open?
A.We hope so, but are currently evaluating the situation.
Q.  Will the prices change?
A.If anything, they are likely to get better. Both companies have always had a strong value proposition, and that is not going to change. Once combined, the company will have twice the buying power, and we should be able to find some efficiencies in buying and distribution that will be passed on to our customers.
Q.  Will my favorite products still be available?
A.Many of the most popular brands are already sold in both stores. In other cases, we will evaluate the mix in an effort to find the best combination of value-oriented, healthful, great-tasting foods, and that will mean the addition of some new products to each store, and the removal of some others.
Q.  What about the private label products — Henry's, Sun Harvest and Sprouts?
A.We have not yet determined what we will do with our stable of outstanding private label products. But we are committed to identifying and keeping the best products from all of the brands.
Q.  Where will the corporate headquarters be located?
A.Once the deal has closed, the corporate operations will be run out of the Sprouts offices in Phoenix, Arizona. The Henry's office in Irvine will remain open, serving regional needs of our extremely large California operations, and will be evaluated in the future once we determine the combined needs of the company.
Q.  When Apollo Management is the new majority owner, will the Boney family still be involved?
A.Yes. Both Stan and Shon Boney will be on the Board, and Shon will continue to serve as CEO.
Q.  Will there be layoffs?
A.Almost all existing positions will be retained, especially in the stores, because our business is only going to grow. The combined company will employ more than 7,000 people and will be adding hundreds of new positions each year, including an estimated 750 in 2011. As in any merger, there will be some corporate roles that are duplicated, and while a very small number of these may be eliminated and offered severance, we will make every effort to accommodate everyone who wants to keep working for the company either through new opportunities or relocation. We pledge to handle this integration in a way that is fair and respectful.
Q.  Will I still see all the same familiar faces working in the stores?
A.The names on the shirts may eventually change, but the people and the high level of service will remain the same. With twice as many stores, Sprouts team members will eventually have more opportunities to move around from store to store and be closer to their homes or desired workplace, so there may be some changes in the staff you have gotten to know.
Q.  When will I start seeing changes in the stores?
A.Once the merger is finalized, the changes will be phased in gradually over the next year, with the lion's share of them taking place in the second half of 2011. Great care will be taken to minimize the disruptions and to incorporate the best of both companies into the new stores. Until the closing, however, the companies will remain separate and distinct entities.